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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Google Instant

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Most people spend their weeks sitting in meetings or working on their computers. In fact, this is how I usually spend my time but this week was different thanks to Google Instant.  Many of the SEO clients I work with through Upward SEO wanted to know what the impact of Google Instant was on both SEO and PPC.

Whenever Google announces a change like Google Instant, people react.  What do the changes mean for your business?  If you're in Internet marketing, how does Google Instant change what you do and how you do it?  Most people out there believe this is a significant change in how people search and the impact of search results.  My belief is the opposite.  I don't think this change means much, if anything - for now.

Changing search behavior takes time, even if search engines are dictating a new search process.  It will be months before we can measure or truly evaluate the impact of a change like this.  Not to mention that Google Suggest has been around for almost two years!  Google suggest is the process of suggesting related search terms as you type.  And truthfully, the only change with Google Instant is that in addition to Google suggested terms, organic results are refreshing in real time.

But guess what?  Search engine optimization best practices haven't changed.  There's been no change to the Google algorithm here.  That's good news for us SEOs who are working to improve organic rankings.  For now search engine optimization is business as usual. 

What about PPC?  Many people are wondering what impact Google Instant has on pay-per-click marketing.  It's really hard to say at this point but Google has already said that one thing will definitely change and that is the number of impressions for keyword searches.  In fact, if someone pauses for just 3 seconds while typing, PPC ads that are rendered will be tagged with an impression.  Also, there will be a greater emphasis on local results.

This may influence online marketing metrics such as impression rates, conversion percentages and so on.  It will take some time for PPC marketers to recalibrate their baseline metrics to determine effectiveness of campaigns.  In the short term this will have an effect of comparing apples to oranges but in the long term will not have any significant impact other than the opportunity for more clicks.

Regardless of which area you are focused on in Search, know that changes will continue to happen.  Just two weeks prior to the launch of Google Instant, Google announced they were relaxing the number of site listings that could occupy a single page for a given search term (previously limited to 2).  Yahoo! announced that they were utilizing the Bing search algorithm to produce search results on their site.  

This is nothing new.  Search engines will continue to evolve and change but one thing stays constant.  Searching for information online, local or national, is part of how we live.  Keep on searching!


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